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Declassify Afghan Child Sex Report, Government Watchdog Tells Pentagon

By VOA News August 01, 2017

The U.S. government oversight agency for operations in Afghanistan has requested the Pentagon declassify a report detailing alleged sexual abuse of children by Afghan soldiers.

The request from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) says the report, which recently was issued to Congress, is classified because much of the information upon which it is based is classified.

According to SIGAR, Afghan officials are failing to properly deal with the sexual abuse and, in some cases, the Afghan government has arrested and prosecuted victims of sexual abuse.

"Afghan officials remain complicit, especially in the sexual exploitation and recruitment of children by Afghan security forces," SIGAR said in a published document outlining the Congressional report.

The issue now, according to SIGAR, is determining whether the U.S. is ignoring the abuse in violation of the Leahy Laws, which forbid U.S. agencies from providing support to foreign government organizations credibly suspected of committing human rights violations.

A spokesman for the Defense Department called child sex abuse "heinous," but said that each case needs to be handled on an individual basis.

"Child rape is always heinous and certainly could constitute a gross violation of human rights; however, each case requires a factual and legal review to determine whether it is a credible allegation of a gross violation of human rights under the Leahy Law," spokesman Adam Stump said.

The report also noted that violence in Afghanistan has increased by more than 20 percent since March 1, and revenue from the sale of opium in the country doubled between 2015 and 2016, spiking above $3 billion.

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